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Rescue Diving, Gaming & Cutting Down Trees

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For a moment it seemed that this weekend is going to really suck. The week has been rather unpleasant and tense, not the least because of yet another flu that doesn’t know if it’s coming or going. It probably didn’t help that on the previous Friday we had our Rescue Diver pool exercises and on Thursday we did the same stuff in the cold sea. Stuff like that does wonders for the flu – it really makes it bloom.

We also had the EFR-training which came with the course. My previous formal first aid training was when I was a boy scout, but I’ve been trying to keep up with the info. It felt good to refresh my memory on resuscitation and stuff like that, although I was surprised the course didn’t have anything on burns and cold injuries, something which I remember we went through during the previous course. I guess they are not really priority when diving, though, although the course was supposed to be general purpose. Getting to see and try an automated defibrillator was fun though. Seeing a machine which has ridiculously easy instructions and voice commands to restart someone’s heart felt childishly cyberpunkish.

What was this stuff? Well, bringing up unconscious divers from the sea bottom, towing them to the shore while giving them resuscitation breaths & simultaneously removing our and their diving equipment (without breaking the breathing rhythm), giving them oxygen and CPR on the shore, and of course acting as the victims ourself.

The Rescue Diver course was very illuminating in many respects. I learned a lot of things – like that giving CPR in water is impossible and trying to breathe into someone’s mouth while trying to tow him is only nigh impossible. The most surprising thing I learned was that none of the previously mentioned activities was the most strenuous one: the thing that was most tiring was acting like you are panicking – trashing around and trying to irrationally climb up from the water. It was really eye-opening how quickly you can tire yourself out completely by trashing around aimlessly. 

So, now Susi and I are certified Rescue Divers. This means that we have a faint clue of what to maybe do in an emergency and we are qualified to try and rescue someone nobody really cares that much about. It’s going to take a shitload of practice to get our skills to a really usable level.

Friday Evening Gaming

Friday afternoon we were filming the TV show I produce. All of us were either fluish, tired or both. We ended up laughing like morons at everything, sticking berries up our noses and throwing them at pigeons. Yeaah, adult professionals, that’s us – through and through.

In any case, it seemed that the flu made up its mind when I got back home. I felt exhausted, feverish and completely out of it. We had planned on leaving for the cabin, but instead of that I collapsed on the sofa and fell asleep for a few hours. After I came to, it was already too late to leave. Instead I thought I’d spend the evening playing some Condemned 2, but my trusty old Xbox 360 did the thing that’s hip with the consoles nowadays and gave me the red ring. Luckily I had a debug console and Dead Space preview version, which conspired with Spore to keep me entertained through the evening.

I’m a big fan of System Shock games and Dead Space really shows some promise. It also promises to be pretty frustrating in certain ways, but it’s hard to say from the preview version only. I’m going to keep my eye on the game, though. Spore… well, I’m still a bit of two minds about it. The protozoa-level is very good and the animal level is interesting. The tribal and the civilization-levels… meh. I didn’t really get anything out of them, because the game mechanics are just too simple and seem to leave a million chances unused. I’m sure they were much more ambitious on the drawing board and when you are combining five games into one, you have to make compromises, but still – not impressed. The galactic phase shows a lot of promise, but after just a couple hours of gameplay it’s hard to say. I have to say that in the end, personally I’m disappointed. I didn’t expect the game to walk on water, but I expected something more. Like an inkling of challenge.

Lake Diving

On Saturday morning I woke up feeling far better than in two weeks, so Susi and I decided to default back to the cabin weekend idea, with some added fun diving. On our way to the cabin site we stopped at Iso-Tiilijärvi, which is a small spring-based lake. This means the water is low on nutrients, rather cold and clear. This was our second lake diving, all the other dives have been in the sea. Our cabin lake was a bit of a disappointment, since the lake bottom was like the surface of Mars (with shellfish, tons of beer bottles and a back plate of a TV). We chalked it under practice and it wasn’t a total waste of time by any means. Here’s a video from earlier in the summer:

Iso-Tiilijärvi was in a different league altogether. The visibility was close to eight meters, a big patch in the bottom of the lake was covered with vegetation and there were a lot of fish. A couple of times we ran into a school of 200-300 perches, which let us quite near. It was fun to see them swimming around in a relaxed way, then notice us and go “PERCHES, ATTEN-SHUN – DEPLOY THE DORSAL FIN!” Perches are a very common fish in Finland – in spite of the spiky dorsal fin they are good eating and easy to catch. 

The water wasn’t terribly cold, being around 12C, but the temperature got to my flu-ravaged bones pretty fast. Additionally I had forgotten my gloves home, but luckily there was a bunch of other divers also on the site and one of them was friendly enough to lend me a pair of thin gloves. They kept my fingers warm enough to operate the camera, the results being below.

 

This looks about right, even the overwhelming greenness.

This looks about right, even the overwhelming greenness.

An underwater Susi.

An underwater Susi.

Yes, that is indeed a rock with neon green dreadlocks. No idea, what that plant is, but man - it looked weird.

Yes, that is indeed a rock with neon green dreadlocks. No idea, what that plant is, but man - it looked weird.

After the dive we grabbed something to eat and drove to the cabin, where I promptly found the iPod I had lost on the previous trip (found it in a place, which I had checked five times… go figure), and warmed up the sauna. Some gaming, warming the bones in the hot room and then reading a few pages – perfection.

 

Felling Trees & Finding Lake Ore

On Sunday I woke up well rested after a load of very weird dreams. After spending some time browsing stupid stuff on the net I went out for some yard word. I laid down the law for weeds with a scythe and then got around to cutting down a couple of trees, which have been shadowing the berry bushes. I had to cut off a couple of branches before fell the whole tree, so it wouldn’t squish the berry bushes or the garden. This required prancing on top of a ladder and hacking at the branch in a really awkward angle.

Cutting down trees is fun. Especially with an axe. MANLY BUSINESS.

Man, you have a chainsaw at the cabin, why not use it instead of an axe, you might ask. Well, where's the fun in that, I would reply.

"Man, you have a chainsaw at the cabin, why not use it instead of an axe?", you might ask. "Well, where's the fun in that?", I would answer.

The first colours of autumn.

The first colours of autumn.

After the yard work Susi and I went for a short dive. It was indeed a feat some people take months, even years preparing for. It took 20 minutes. Our maximum depth was 2,5 meters. I did it without gloves in a 12C water. Truly hardcore. The other side of the cabin lake wasn’t much more interesting – lots of clams, Susi found some lake iron and I stuck one shellfish upside down on the bottom mud, until I started feeling bad and turned it right side up again. 

This has been a very good weekend, one in a series of quite a few. The cabin gives and the cabin taketh away, though – I found my iPod, but it seems Susi lost her keys. Hopefully they turn up somewhere, because changing the security locks in the whole building won’t be cheap.

Next week, an overnight press trip to UK. I’m feeling good and enthusiastic about work, which is a state to cherish – doing something that’s fun and pays the bills at the same time.

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